LOS ANGELES – Colton Dixon, the 20-year-old Christian rocker from Murfreesboro, Tenn. was sent home after receiving the least amount of votes from “American Idol” viewers.
“Last night, we got an incredible 53 million votes, that is the highest of the season,” announced host Ryan Seacrest. “It just proves how much love there is for our ‘Idols.’”
Before Thursday night, Dixon had never been in the bottom three, but his peculiar interpretation of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and lackluster version of Earth Wind and Fire’s “September” may have ultimately have sunk him.
Mentor Jimmy Iovine was particularly horrified by Dixon’s take on Lady Gaga’s smash hit about a sadomasochistic love affair.
“(It) was completely wrong for me–the way he looked, the way he positioned himself, the way he moved, the way he sang it–it was all wrong as far as I was concerned as a record company,” said Iovine. “The look–I was stunned. It was somewhere between 1985 Billy Idol on MTV/TRL to ‘Spiderman’ on Broadway–I wasn’t sure what I was looking at.”
For his part, Dixon acknowledged his missteps.
“You know, I need to apologize, I wasn’t myself last night–and I get it,” Dixon told the judges after hearing the bad news. “And I appreciate what you told me last night. I’ll take that when I’m making a record.”
“You’ll make many of them,” cheered judge Jennifer Lopez. “You have a huge career ahead of you, man,” added judge Randy Jackson.
Also landing in the Bottom Three with Dixon was Elise Testone, who felt that the judges’ critiques of her performances were unfairly harsh.
"Maybe they think I can take it more, because I'm older," the testy 28-year-old told Seacrest.
After Testone was declared safe, perennial Bottom Three contestant Hollie Cavanagh waited on stage with Dixon to hear the final results from Seacrest.
Initially, Cavanagh seemed resigned to going home, but appeared stunned when Seacrest announced that it was Dixon who was got the boot–not her.
“I’m so glad that the judges wanted me to audition this year,” Dixon graciously explained upon hearing the bad news. “I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the same person if I wasn’t here.”
Dixon then got on his knees to sing his parting song, Lifehouse’s “Everything,” as Cavanaugh wiped away tears.
The other contestants looked crushed about Dixon’s surprise exit, with Phillip Phillips taking the news especially hard. The former pawn shop worker sat alone on the far end of the couch, his hands clasped together and hanging his head down in disbelief.
The only “Idol” contestant who didn’t look particularly upset–or surprised–about Dixon’s elimination was his rumored paramour, Skylar Laine. She was happily smiling and clapping as Dixon sang his final song.
But Dixon’s future is bright, according to one “American Idol” expert.
“Colton is really talented–probably one of the most talented kids on the show,” Iovine declared.
Just as long as he doesn’t cover Lady Gaga.
Up next: The Top Six perform.